“Extended” traveling time!🚗🥿🥿

By Rosalie Tirella

Rose’s desk and living area at the Extended Stay motel in Westboro. pics: R.T.

To tip$ or not to tip, that is the question. As an older woman traveling alone (with Jett and Lilac, of course), an older white woman with not a lot of dough$ but not a lot of needs, either, (I travel with my own electric tea pot, tea cup and a box of green tea), tipping for me has become looking into the soul of the kid or old lady manning the motel’s front desk … not so much caring if the floor in my room requires slippers to be worn at all times (yes, all Extended Stay motel suites in Westboro) but if the overworked/underpaid housekeeper smiles when she or he gives me an extra soap or two – is genuinely nice to me. Human to human. So my tip has nothing to do with the motel per say … its carpets or coffee bar or bathtubs. Yes, I want it all clean and functional, but mostly the quality of my stay has to do with how the help makes me feel.

As in: Wow, that young woman at the front desk is so positive about life (and extended stay – 1800 Computer Drive, Westboro)! The way she described the bonfire she and her boyfriend started last night outside their home…how lovely the cedar smelled…how happy it made her feel. Of course, I went out and bought this positive young woman a little tub of hand cream, pretty facial wipes and cute Memorial Day potholders – in case their bonfire got too hot!

At one motel, an Econo Lodge, the East Indian owners were brutal, but their cleaning staff was outstanding! I still miss those ladies! One housekeeper, an older woman, gave me magazines from her house! She said she did this because she saw the newspapers and notepad in my room. She was a reader, too! She also gave me a cute little green dog poop bag dispenser, complete with doggie bags. “You’re the only one here who cleans up after your dogs,” she said. Of course, every time I saw her I gave her $5. Every time.

Her colleague was also wonderful. I came into the Econo motel hungry. I asked her for a snack. She went into her and her husband’s room (like a lot of young help, they lived at their motel) and came out with the food they had: a Cup o Noodles, a can of Campbell’s chicken soup, and a Ramen noodle package. I microwaved the cup o noodles – the soup tasted like old sweat socks. I tipped this young woman every time our paths crossed. These ladies were so … human. So kind to my dogs … Their good hearts not burnished at some hotel conference, not angling for my dollars. They were just good people, most likely raised beautifully by a parent or aunt or grandparent. Raised carefully, not stupidly, the way the desk guy here at this Extended Stay motel suites in Westboro – Evan – tall and Igor-looking – sneers at me – or even yells at me when I ask for assistance. Amazing! I should say: Abusive! You ask him to close your stuck window, and he sighs and shakes his head as if it’s your fault his motel has stuck windows. Plus, noisy refrigerators and generators that make your room tremble.

Did Evan put me in this room on purpose? Some of the male “guests” and workers you see at these places are a bit … frightening. I was once at a motel where several police officers served an arrest warrant to the guy across the hall. I heard the click click click of their cocked guns, no doubt trained right on his door. The cops were pros: quietly they asked him: Will you come out? Or shall we come in and get you? He opened the door and left with them …

To have Evan, a staffer, represent the hospitality business with such surliness feels almost as criminal …

My hunt for a cute affordable apartment in Worcester … the dream…fades into the gentrified sunset of Worcester. This fact, after ONE YEAR of searching for home, has me stressed. Ten years ago I could get into a huge three bedroom flat in a Woo blue collar neighborhood with $200 bucks in the bank, $20 bucks in my back pocket, and my gamey smelling Nova Scotia retriever Bailey in the back seat of my jalopy. The old school Worcester landlord would look at this mess, this writer/newspaper editor and think: She’s poor. She’s alone. Look at that car. It’s just Rose and her dog. AND THEN HE’D RENT HIS APARTMENT TO ME BECAUSE HE FELT SORRY FOR ME. After 13 years of living in a terrific apartment on Perry Ave, the landlord, a retired Worcester police detective, said: It was just you and your dog, Rose. My wife and I felt bad …

Even at Blackstone River Road…home of thug tenants…but not such a bad landlord…Ken the landlord had a heart. Tommy the handyman once said, You know Rose, Kenny told me he rented to you because he felt sorry for you.

I believed Tommy. And I knew the old Worcester was disappearing forever as I smiled and offered him a cup of tea …
Jett resting on his blankets at the Extended Stay motel.